Get the Most Out of Black Friday

Black Friday has grown in the public imagination over recent years – it is common to see retailers offering huge discounts for their goods on the Friday after Thanksgiving in November.

So how does a small business capitalize on a big event like this?

We wanted to share some key ideas to help you make the most of Black Friday this year.

  • Create a sense of urgency:

The buzz around Black Friday only works because the offers you make are unique. There are lots of excuses for extending the event (Cyber Monday has essentially become a way of offering things throughout the weekend), but be sure to limit yourself – if your customers can get the offer any time, they won’t feel an urgency to buy from you now.

  • Reward loyal customers:

Your marketing efforts are probably going to be most effective at reaching your existing customer base. They’re the ones who have shopped from you before, and they are the ones most likely to recognize the benefits of your offers. PADI’s continuing education courses are best used for this.

  • Don’t just discount – upsell:

Simply reducing the cost of your courses on Black Friday is unlikely to truly benefit your business – you simply give away profit and end up working harder for less. Your best option is to encourage people to buy full price, and get something extra as a reward.

  • “Buy two, get one free”:

This is a classic sales technique that is easily deployed. Your customers choose two items and get a third item free. You need to look carefully at your profit margin on the first two items to ensure that the offer works, however used correctly, this can be a great way to encourage customers to increase their average purchase price.

  • Keep It Simple:

Too many offers can be confusing for you, your staff and your customers. Pick a couple of attention grabbing headlines and use these to encourage consumers to visit your store. Even if they don’t take the offer in the end, you have a chance for them to see all the other products you have available.

So how might these offers look in real life? We’ve put together a few simple ideas that you could use in your store. You can use these as they are, or you could use them as inspiration to then make more individualized offers:

The Upsell:

Target your Rescue Divers from the last two years and offer them a free gift if they register for a Divemaster course with you during Black Friday. They should be required to pay a deposit for the course over the weekend in order to secure the offer. You need to ensure that the price of the course includes enough profit to cover the cost of the gift.

Example promotion: Change your life and become a PADI Pro by completing your PADI Divemaster course with ABC Dive Center – BLACK FRIDAY OFFER! Register for your Divemaster course during Black Friday and receive a PADI towel valued at $35 completely free of charge!

The Buy Two Get One Free:

Target your Advanced Open Water Divers and offer them a free Oxygen Administration course when they register for their EFR and Rescue Diver course. O2 is an easy course to add on, with minimal extra time commitment, and a high perceived value.

Example promotion: Serious Fun! Become a PADI Rescue Diver today! BLACK FRIDAY OFFER! Register for your EFR and Rescue Diver course during Black Friday, and complete your PADI Emergency Oxygen Administrator Specialty free of charge!

The Customer reward / sense of urgency:

Target your Open Water Divers and offer them a reduced price on a Specialty course if they sign up within a certain time-frame:

Example promotion: Thank you from ABC Dive Center – BLACK FRIDAY OFFER! As a thanks to our loyal customers, we are offering a 10% discount on Dry Suit Specialties to everyone who has trained as an Open Water Diver with us in 2018. Limited spaces available – contact the store on Black Friday to book your training now!

Business advice is available to all PADI Dive Center owners – if you’d like ideas and support for promotions during Black Friday, contact your Regional Manager today!

Article written by Emma Hewitt

6 Ways to Keep Up With the Latest Marketing Trends

diving marketing trends

Does it seem like every week there’s a new marketing trend that’s going to revolutionize the way we do business? If buzzwords like: blockchain, chatbots, and the internet of things make your eyes glaze over, you’re not alone.

Keeping up with digital trends can be a full-time job. You need a virtual assistant just to sort through which ones are worth investing in and which are a waste of pixels. To help busy dive center owners keep their marketing skills sharp, we put together a list of our favorite blogs, podcasts and other ways to learn how to take advantage of new marketing trends.

Follow or Subscribe to Popular Blogs
The blogs below will give you a regular dose of marketing “vitamins.” Read news, updates and how to’s to help grow your business.

The Retail Doctor – recent topics include:
9 Ways To Get Better At Selling In Retail
8 Proven Steps for Retail Success
–  Quiz: How Engaging is Your Retail Experience,

PADI Pros North America – learn about:
Top Teaching Tips
Re-Doing Your Website
The Cost to Become a Scuba Instructor. Vs. Other Instructor Programs

Social Media Today – their daily brief includes topics such as:
Digital Strategy
Social Media Updates
Content Marketing

HubSpot’s Marketing Blog has great info and, even better, how long it will take to read the entire article. For example:
4 Easy Ways to Reshare Content on Instagram (11 min read)
Guide to Using Emojis in Marketing (12 min read)
Ultimate Guide to Marketing Terms You Should Know (31 min read)

Listen to Podcasts
Podcasts are a convenient way to learn new things from subject matter experts. Tune in during your commute, or plug in at night instead of spending time in front of a screen. Here are a few to consider:

StoryBrand – Marketing advice focused around making customers the hero of your brand
Jon Loomer – Entrepreneurship with a focus on Facebook ads
Amy Porterfield –  Try Attracting new customers using YouTube or How to use Instagram stories to grow your customer list

Take a free online course
HubSpot offers a free online course in social media. Eight lessons breakdown social media fundamentals, latest trends, social media listening and how to use social media to manage a crisis.

Google Online Library
Learn how to get discovered by customers in your local area, how to get started with Google Analytics, Google Ads basics and so on. Use Google Primer to learn a little more everyday, even if you only have five minutes to spare. You can also complete Google’s free certification courses to become an expert in Google Ads, Analytics and other Google products.

Subscribe to Magazines
A few of our favorites include:
INC (the magazine for small business owners)
Forbes
Entrepreneur

and Fast Company

PADI Business Academy
Learn about business planning, how to increase engagement with Facebook followers, website optimization, staff training, pricing and sales – and more at PADI Business Academy in 2019. Visit the PADI Pros Site to find an upcoming PADI Business Academy near you.

Creating Advocates

Written by John Kinsella

It’s a damp and dreary morning, the traffic is horrendous and it’s backing up for a long way. Perfect. Clutching a handful of flyers promoting a two-for-the-price-of-one Discover Scuba® Diving (DSD®) experience, we move carefully between the rows of cars, making eye contact with the bored looking drivers. Most roll down their windows, curious no doubt about our colorful one-piece wet suits. We smile, hand them a flyer and give them a brief explanation: Forget about all the traffic, now’s the time to learn to dive. By the time we made it in to the dive shop at nine, the phone was hopping off the hook. It was the single most-effective promotion we had ever run.

For years, we made a point of finding out why new divers came in to the shop. Before the advent of high-end dive management software such as EVE, we kept a simple spreadsheet with the diver’s name and a couple of words describing how they heard about us and why they signed up. We tallied this up every month and, with only this one exception, every month the dominant reason was referrals. Running around in rush-hour traffic in wet suits, it appears, is the exception that proves the rule.

That was 30 years ago, and I doubt we’d get away with it today. So that leaves referrals squarely at the top of the list. And, to drive the point firmly home, during a recent Open Water Diver course, every single one of eight new divers was there because a friend or colleague had personally recommended the course. This is a great example of Word Of Mouth Marketing (or WOMM) at its best.

The importance of advocates – those people responsible for word-of-mouth marketing and referrals – for your business crosses all borders. PADI® Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) recently published a white paper titled, “Analysis of the UK Diving Industry.” This report summarizes the key findings of a comprehensive survey of PADI Dive Centers across the UK. It also offers advice, based on those findings, to help dive centers boost their business.

In the Marketing to New Divers section, the white paper points out that new divers are the lifeblood of your business. They are not just current customers, but future customers as well. It goes on to identify two pools of new divers: DSDs and potential trade.

For DSDs, the advice is to:

  1. Use the Discover Scuba Diving Participant Guide and system correctly.
  2. Include structured time during the experience to explain the benefits of full training and how to complete this.
  3. Give participants an incentive to sign up immediately.
  4. Make sure participants know that they can complete the skills from Confined Water Dive One during their DSD – they have already started the process.
  5. Incentivize your staff. The white paper notes that “Passionate PADI Professionals will convert students to the sport – be sure to support them and reward them for success.” If you can’t rely on staff to recommend your Open Water Diver course, and if you don’t help them do so and make it worth their while, you’re missing a cornerstone of new business development.

For potential trade (new business), the white paper advises to:

  1. Use the PADI logo.
  2. Make sure to use the dive center’s Facebook page effectively.
  3. Be innovative – reach out to your local community.
  4. Use your students – word of mouth is still the best way to attract new divers.

The white paper notes that “Personal recommendations are powerful recruitment tools.” Incentivize former students by offering them rewards for bringing you new trade. Examples include a free gift for each student they recruit; discount on their next course; or a discount on the course they persuade a friend to join.

Make sure to use tried and tested methods of creating advocates for your business and reap the rewards.

 

PADI Retail and Resort Automatic Renewal

PADI Retail and Resort Automatic Renewal begins 5 November 2018. Enrolling in automatic renewal provides you the least expensive annual membership rate available and ensures you receive uninterrupted access to PADI’s member benefits like online certification processing.

Along with reduced membership dues, automatic renewal also provides PADI Retail and Resort Members a chance to win an in-store marketing consultation with a PADI Americas Marketing Executive and $1,000 US in marketing co-op funds.

To enter the Marketing Consultation Contest, please ensure your store or resort is enrolled in automatic renewal and completes the short survey linked below before 5 November 2018. The in-store consultation will include a one-day review of your website, social media, email marketing, online advertising and $1,000 US in marketing co-op funds*.

Complete the following before 5 November 2018 and you will be entered in the Marketing Consultation Contest.

  1. Enroll in 2018 automatic membership renewal
  2. Access and complete this short survey.

Successful Promotion of Group Dive Travel

Want some tips on how to plan, organize and market the best group trips for your divers? Here’s the first of eight tips to help. Keep an eye out for more here shortly:

Destination

Where do your customers want to go? Somewhere far-flung and exotic or closer to home? Are they into marine life or are they more interested in wreck diving?

Distant, exotic destinations may require higher budgets. So, you’ll want to determine if your divers are willing to pay a premium for an unforgettable experience. If not, you may have to consider a closer or more affordable destination.

Keep in mind that the seasons strongly influence dive conditions and marine life sightings, so a suitable destination in June may not be so suitable in September.

You should consider all these questions when choosing your destination to make sure the trip is a good fit and your divers are excited about it.

One of the best ways to determine what your divers are interested in, where they want to go and even how much they’re willing to spend is to ask them. Survey your diver database to make sure you’re putting trips on the calendar that cater to their needs and interests.

PADI TRAVEL

Not a PADI Travel™ Affiliate yet? You can learn about the benefits and how to grow your business leveraging travel or activate your Affiliate account now.

How to Save on PADI Retail and Resort Membership Dues

Every year members ask, “How can I save more on my membership dues?”

Well it’s easy! Enroll in PADI Automatic Membership Renewal and you’ll receive the lowest rate for 2019. By enrolling before 5 November 2018, you will maintain uninterrupted access to PADI’s membership benefits including:

  • Online certification processing
  • Access to your dedicated regional Customer Service Team
  • PADI Pros’ Site marketing tools and more!

Sign up for Automatic Renewal before time runs out and the savings disappears.

Passion Equals Productive

Take a moment to think about what makes you productive. That is, what enables you to do things that benefit others – whether material, informational, spiritual or all three. Without productivity, success in anything can’t happen: it is, in effect, how we define success (and notice it’s not necessarily money or wealth). Some will tell you that productivity results from organization, luck and talent, but we’ve all seen disorganized, unlucky, ungifted people who produce and succeed extraordinarily. And sadly, sometimes we see the opposite. What’s the key element?

I think the musician Judy Collins put her finger on it. “Do what you love,” she said, “and you will find the way to get it out to the world.” That is, a passion for what you do is the one and only critical ingredient to high productivity. Zero in on what’s really important and productivity skyrockets, not because we do more things but because we do the right things. We stop wasting time on irrelevant (though often urgent) distractions that take us off task because we know where we’re going.

And, we work harder because we want to. Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why, wrote, “Working hard for something we do not care about is called stress, working hard for something we love is called passion.” Passion turns failures into learning opportunities, delays into new directions and challenges into creativity. If you are truly passionate about something, you don’t have to motivate yourself to be productive with it. You only have to find the ways.

In the PADI® family, there’s no shortage of passion for diving and the underwater world, and for changing the world by sharing both. It’s why we dive and how we share diving combined. PADI’s larger purpose is changing the world for the better. Every person we bring to diving adds to the political leverage and wise consumer choices we need to protect the seas and marine animals. It adds to those healed or who are able to help heal, or both, through the power of scuba. A growing dive industry creates jobs and adds new opportunities to global and local economies. And it all happens because you and I are passionate about diving. It drives us to produce. When we can’t find a way, we make a way.

The point is to nurture and preserve your love for diving, the oceans and those who share this love. It’s the key to being productive as a dive professional. It’s the heart of making the world better with diving. If teaching becomes more about getting students through mask clearing than that gleam in their eyes when they breathe underwater for the first time (believe me, I’ve been there), step back and reconnect. Make that cool dive (trip!) you’ve been putting off. Spend an hour with a buddy listening to whales sing, watching an octopus assemble its “yard” or whatever captures your fascination. Try that new suit, CCR, regulator or computer if tech is your hot button, or chase down that person who you just know will have a burning love for diving and can’t wait to get in the water.

Put first and foremost whatever makes you genuinely passionate about diving, the ocean and sharing them, and you won’t have to worry about how to be productive. You won’t be able to help it.

Written by Dr. Drew Richardson, PADI President and CEO

15 Top Tips for Re-doing Your Website

According to a recent survey, 70-80 percent of potential customers will check out your website before phoning or visiting your dive shop. Having an attractive, informative, mobile-friendly website is more important than ever; unfortunately, many dive operations haven’t kept up with the times.

In addition to attracting new customers, a modern website can help retailers track the effectiveness of their online ad spend. Using a Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics and other tools, business owners can track which marketing efforts are driving sales and which are a waste of money.

Whether you need to update an outdated site or your free Wix/Weebly site no longer meets your needs, use the tips below to ensure your next website is the best it can be. In addition to the 15 top tips, there are three bonus ideas based upon evaluations of more than 50 dive center websites.

Evaluate Your Current Site Using a Website Grader
Not every website needs to be redesigned from scratch. Use a website grader such as Woorank to see what’s working on your existing page and what needs to be improved.

You’ll also be able to review backlinks (other sites that link to your webpage). If a prominent website such as a local TV station, newspaper or other large publication links to your Open Water page, you don’t want to lose that traffic because the URL changes and doesn’t redirect.

Check Your Search Engine Ranking
Open an incognito window in Google Chrome (this ensures your search history isn’t factored into the search results) and Google popular scuba-related searches such as:

scuba diving gear
scuba diving lessons
dive shop
PADI open water
scuba certification
scuba diving certification
padi elearning

Take note of where your current site ranks for individual keywords and where you’d like to rank higher. You’ll use this information when writing copy for your new site.

Establish Goals
Every business website should be designed around its core profit centers. For one dive center, that might be charters, for another it might be gear, or their IDC program. Also, jot down any new areas where you hope to grow (exotic travel, kids programs, etc.) to ensure there’s a home for these topics on your new site.

To prevent your new site from looking like a garage sale, create 3-5 sub-categories such as Equipment, Instruction and Travel. Give each sub-topic prominent placement on your homepage using a graphic so visitors looking for information on that topic can quickly navigate to what they need. In the example below, Project AWARE presents visitors with three images – each a portal to a different section of their website.

A recent study found 75% of website visitors form judgments about a business based on its web site and 94% of a user’s first impression is design-related.

In other words, even if dive equipment is your core business, don’t cover the homepage in pictures of dive gear. This is overwhelming to the eye and may confuse and intimidate new divers. Instead, use one attractive image on the homepage to act as a gateway to more information.

Who Are Your VIPs?
When deciding what content to put on your homepage, also consider who your core customers are and what they’re looking for. Here are a few ideas:

– People looking to get certified
– Travelers interested in booking boat dives
– Potential IDC candidates
– Certified divers who want to refresh or improve their skills
– Cruise ship guests
– Divers who need gear advice
– Parents interested in an summer activity for their kids

Size Up the Competition
Explore a handful of competitor websites. In addition to evaluating other dive operators, choose at least one non-scuba website. The non-scuba competitor might be a cycling store, a ski/snowboard shop or a yoga studio.

– Write down 2-3 things each website does well.
– Note 2-3 things the website does poorly (tip: check out their sites on a mobile device).
– Ask yourself, “if a competing dive center started running my business tomorrow, what would they change?”

Choose a Design That Promotes Your Profit Centers
After defining your goals, key customers, and what parts of your existing website you’d like to update, you’re ready to choose a design. Use the profit centers you’ve identified to narrow down the options. For example, a dive resort that caters to island guests and cruise ship passengers should choose a design that allows them to adequately address the needs of both website visitors.


A local dive center that wants to promote local diving and showcase activities should reserve space for both of those elements.

The site design should also be able to utilize Google Analytics and Facebook pixel code. If you’re not sure, do a quick Google search or ask your web designer.

Finally, responsive design (where the website content adjusts to the size of the user’s screen), is an absolute must. Design with mobile views in mind because there’s a greater than 50% chance your site will be viewed on a mobile device.

Customers should be able to easily navigate on a phone, tablet or desktop device. A mobile-friendly design also helps your business stay competitive; Google penalizes slow-loading, non-responsive pages with a low search ranking.

Compose Key Messages
According to a 2018 article in Inc, 70-80 of customers visit a small businesses’ website before contacting or visiting the store, so it’s critical your website 1) ranks highly in search 2) acts a 24/7 sales person.

Refer to your keyword research to identify the words or phrases where you’d like to rank at the top of Google search. Use keywords words in:

– Page titles and descriptions
– The page URL (ex. divecenter.com/learn-to-scuba-dive-your-city)
– As headlines

When a customer lands on your website, it should be 100% clear your dive operation is the #1 choice for dive equipment, instruction, charters, etc. Here are a few examples of key messages:

Small class sizes and all-inclusive pricing
Dive with the best! 5 Star ratings on Facebook, TripAdvisor and Yelp
The island’s most eco-friendly dive resort

Don’t Overbuild
There’s no way to fit all your knowledge and expertise into one website. Furthermore, the vast majority of visitors will only spend about 15 seconds scanning each page.

Make sure important info stands out by:

  • Using bullet points
  • Put key messages in bold
  • Using images or or sub-headers to break up long sections of text
    (long = 100 words or more).
  • Keep paragraphs short (2-3 sentences)
  • Avoid using industry jargon such as “confined water, knowledge development and acronyms DSD, RSTC, etc.)
  • Put important info “above the fold” in other words: don’t assume people will scroll down.

With websites, less is more. A flashy video can slow page load time and you should never assume a visitor will watch the whole thing.

That said, it’s a good idea to incorporate a few videos on your website. While only 25 percent of website visitors will read the majority of a webpage, 80 percent will watch a one-minute video in its entirety. Embed course promo videos from PADI’s YouTube channel, or create your own. In either case, make sure your webpage includes text with the same information the video provides, not everyone will watch the video, and if they do they might not have their sound on.

Make Contact Info and Hours Easy to Find
According to a study reported in Inc, 44 percent of visitors leave a website if they can’t find basic contact info such as an email address or phone number. The top right corner of the homepage is typically where a phone number should go. In the same corner, include a link to your Contact page.

The Contact Us page should include your store hours, all contact info and an embedded Google map. Your contact page is also a good place for social media icons and links if you don’t already have them in the website header or footer.

Connect and Be Compelling
Prevent website visits from being one-and-done by inviting visitors to start a relationship with you. Invite them to subscribe to your newsletter and be the first to know about trips and special offers – in addition to linking to your Facebook/Instagram/YouTube account(s).  If you don’t connect with new visitors, it’s like they were never there.

Compel website visitors to take the next step. Tell them what you want them to do and include a large, bold text link or a CTA (call to action) button.

– Schedule a free, no-obligation equipment consultation [CONTACT US]
– Small class sizes for personal attention, Reserve your spot! [SEND BOOKING INQUIRY]
– Download our guide to the top 10 local dives [GET THE GUIDE]
– What’s on your dive travel bucket list? [LET US KNOW]

Don’t Expect Website Visitors to Call for Answers
After working hard to optimize your website, you can easily lose a customer by not including key information such as how much your class cost or when classes are offered.

The age of customers picking up the phone to get this information is over. In a Sep 2018 Google article on best practices, Google shared the following findings:

More than half of smartphone users purchased from a company other than the one they’d originally intended to use because the information provided by another brand was more useful

If you’re concerned about stating the price of the course because the “guy down the road” offers it cheaper, educate customers why your course is worth the extra cost. Maybe you have smaller classes sizes, include rental gear, have a on-site pool, etc. Also consider whether the bottom-dollar customer is one you want in the first place.

Use Images of Smiling Divers
In addition to showing underwater images of your local environment, help customers visualize the fun they’re going to have and the underwater life they’ll see. Use some of your most liked images from social media, or visit the Toolbox section of the PADI Pros site to download images and videos. Quality images of divers having fun help new customers understand one of the main reasons people fall in love with diving: the people!

Create an About Us Page That Turns Visitors into Friends

The About Us page is the second most-visited page by new customers and it should leave no doubt in the customer’s mind that you are THE dive shop they should work with.

  • Include links to reviews on Facebook, TripAdvisor, and/or Yelp
  • Showcase smiling photos of your staff, list their certifications and experience  
  • Talk about why you LOVE running a dive shop
  • Share a few details about your hobbies, alma mater, pets, anything to help a website visitor relate to you as a person.
  • Reassure nervous new divers that their scuba class will be safe and fun.
  • Include testimonials if you don’t have them elsewhere.

Find the Right Web Designer
Identify some websites you like and scroll to the bottom of the page. You may find a link to the person or company who built the site.

As part of the vetting process, ensure you’ll have access to update the site whenever you want. Also find out about after-hours support and what happens if the person who built the site gets hit by a bus.

Lastly, ask if they can set up your Google Analytics/Tags and install a Facebook Pixel. These essential tools require installing small snippets of code.

Test Drive Your New Site
Because your website is likely the consumer’s first encounter with your business, make sure it makes a good first impression. Invite friends, customer spouses, grandparents, etc. to evaluate your new site, in person if possible.

Ask them to first look at your site for no more than 15 seconds. What is their first impression of your business? Next, ask them to accomplish an important task like finding out how to get certified, or reserving space on your boat. Watch their mouse movements, and most importantly keep an open mind when they give you feedback.

Website Boosters:
The ideas below will help your new website rise above the competition:

A Dedicated eLearning page
Explain how eLearning saves time and also what the additional costs are. An eLearning page is also a good place to link to the medical form and eLearning student login.

Blog
A blog can help your business establish authority in a variety of areas and crush the competition in online search. It’s important that your blog be included under your domain (ex. yourdiveshop.com/blog or blog.yourdivehop.com).

Testimonial Page
Testimonials establish trust and breakdown skepticism for website visitors who are unsure about taking the next step. They’re also a way to put some of your best customers in the spotlight. Be sure you get permission and include a photo.

Changing the Lives of Marines Through Diving

kathy peper at get wet scuba

By Tara Bradley Connell

As an instructor in Palm Springs, California, Kathy Peper had no idea that one day her future dive students would be some of the toughest people in the country – the men and women of the U.S. Marines Corp.

“I met some Marines that were interested in scuba diving, and for about six years I pursued the idea to the marine base, but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen,” she said. “Out of the blue, I got a call from the base asking me to teach. A week later I received a contract, and the rest is history.”

Without her dive shop on base, Peper started recruiting students at the PX – a common area on the base. Four years later, the 29 Palms Marine Base gave her a permanent location where she had access to everyone from just-out-of-boot camp to seasoned Marines and their families. To date, Peper estimates that the Marines make up 98% of her divers.

kathy peper at get wet scuba

“My goal is to service the Marines and to get them out of the barracks as a way of giving them something to do that they wouldn’t normally do,” she says. “We are a resource for the Marines but also a family. They come here and talk to me about everything.”

And she’s right. From engagement ring shopping and wedding invitations to career counseling and car repairs – with help from Peper’s boyfriend – Peper’s students tend to stick around long after their C-Card is signed. For Peper, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We keep in touch with a lot of our Marines, and many come back to dive with us for our Catalina trips,” she says. “When they’re away we stay in touch by texting or Facebook. When they’re back in town, we’ll do anything we can from storing their stuff to letting them stay with us while they get situated. It’s a community more than a dive shop.”

That family atmosphere has made such an impact that one Marine changed his last name to Peper, saying she was like a mother to him. Another credits her with saving his life by using diving to help him get out of a dark place. It’s that sense of community that has turned the base’s community of divers into a family.

With such a great response from Marines wanting to try diving, Peper was inspired to host a weekly Try Scuba event – a program that introduces Marines to diving.

How it works: After signing up online, 20 Marines are scheduled every hour for an academics overview and quiz followed by pool work to familiarize them with the gear and introductory skills.

But it’s not just about diving for this group. Peper and her team also give their Marines a little bit of old-fashioned love. Whether it’s having a peanut butter and jelly station during class or a lesson on how to make killer breakfast burritos in the barrack’s microwaves, the Get Wet Scuba team makes it their mission that the Marines feel at home. And with a 50% sign-up ratio for PADI Open Water certifications after each event, they’re making an impact.

“I could do this every month, but we have to limit the amount of students we can accept,” Peper says. “I could have 100 or 50 students a month if we had enough instructors.”

With such a high demand for instructors, Peper notes the need for other dive operators to consider reaching out and creating a positive diving community among their local Marine bases. And while it didn’t happen overnight for Peper, she couldn’t be prouder of the extended dive family she’s built through her journey.

“Once I got here I realized these people are up on the base and a lot of the guys are confined to it because they don’t have vehicles,” she says. “Many are right out of boot camp with nothing to do and away from home. They are looking for stuff to do.”

When asked how others can follow in her footsteps, Peper’s motherly advice resembles a pep talk for one of her Marines.

“You just have to reach out and find out what the opportunities are,” she says. “This is a job for someone that wants to make life better for the Marines, not just to collect a paycheck. If that’s what you want, don’t give up.”

It’s that never-give-up attitude which is why Peper has become somewhat of a matriarch for her little dive shop in Palm Springs – and been able to create a place many Marines can call home.

For more on Peper and her Try Scuba program, visit getwetscubadivers.com.

PADI® Dive Center and Resort Renewal

 

Don’t forget to mark your calendars!

PADI Retail and Resort Membership Renewal occurs every November and here’s  a few tips on how to save the most for 2019:

  • Lowest Renewal Rate – To secure the best annual renewal rate, enroll in Automatic Membership Renewal on the PADI Pros’ Site before 5 November 2018. You can find this feature on the My Account page or by using the Renewal button located on the Homepage.
  • Convenient and Cost Effective – You may renew your membership online by logging onto the PADI Pros’ Site and navigating to the Online Membership Renewal option under the My Account tab. Online Renewal provides you the ability to renew one year at a time and to enroll in Automatic Renewal for future years.
  • The Pen and Paper Method – Renewing with a paper form is still an option but why waste the paper and the time. If you’re not enrolled in auto renewal or have not renewed online, a paper renewal form will be mailed to you prior to the renewal deadline. This method will cost you more than the online methods, so strongly consider saving money and time with automatic renewal.

Don’t waste time worrying about annual membership renewals. Enroll in 2019 PADI Automatic Membership Renewal now by accessing the My Account page on the PADI Pros Site.